Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade-A A +A
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
THE International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) has recently crafted a plan for the global co-operative movement to advance cooperativism as he alternative development paradigm to address environmental degradation and to put the people at the center of development processes. The blueprint outlines a strategic agenda that positions the cooperatives as builders of sustainability.
Why is this so? Well, the ICA and the cooperatives worldwide have “witnessed the growing social unrest, economic stagnation and the insecurity that future generations face in terms of jobs, essential social services and even just meeting their basic needs.”
Indeed, there is a need for a paradigm shift as it has become imperative to debunk the dominant paradigm that is only successful in sacrificing the people and the environment to the altar of greed and profit. That contention is res ipsa loquitor in a country where poverty has become a “second skin to a third of its people.” We have lost our ecological security because the loggers and miners have formed a formidable cabal of vested interest with their tremendous rakings that saw the 17 million hectares of dipterocarp forest gone in just a century of plunder and the massacre of all life forms that were then thriving in the forest ecosystem.
A paradigm shift where people should be in control is especially true in a country that is economically run by cartels. Such pyramidal social structure has given credence to take heed of the social warning that “if a few elite will have much too much and the many who are poor will have much too little, we will be facing consequences horrible even to contemplate.”
The call for social change through legal and peaceful means, which has been elusive all these years, is given headways by the cooperatives whose raizon d’ etre, by nature and by law, is to democratize wealth and power. This is very explicit in the constitutional mandate that the “State shall advance cooperativism as an instrument of social justice, equity and development.”
In the process of democratizing wealth and power, the State, as mandated by the 1987 Constitution, created an office called the Cooperative Development Authority to champion cooperativism and to rectify social wrongs and legal flaws emanating from the Martial Law Regime. One of these is to genuinely cooperativize so called Electric Cooperatives to become truly autonomous and independent and to be managed and owned by the member-consumers themselves. That is not anymore possible with the recent passage of law that has made the National Electric Administration a Super Agency.
That recent development seems to run counter to the cooperative blueprint as pronounced by the International Cooperative Alliance. The Cooperative Decade (2011 – 2020) is a blueprint that calls on all cooperatives world-wide to respond to the following challenges: 1) environmental degradation and resource depletion; 2) an unstable financial sector and increasing inequity; 3) a growing global governance gap; and 4) a seemingly disenfranchised younger generation.
In the pursuance of the international cooperative blueprint, the following IMPERATIVES must be pursued by the cooperatives and by the people themselves: to DEMOCRATIZE the ownership of electric cooperatives by the member-consumers and to debunk conventional agriculture and to replace it with sustainable agriculture that trust in the innate process of nature. Indeed, it is time to give back to the farmers control of farming and not to big agri-business corporations.
It is the position of the ICA that the cooperatives’ form of business is “the fastest growing form of enterprise globally, the model preferred by people and the acknowledged leader in the economic, social and environmental sustainability.” Let this be a notice to those who have underestimated the power of the cooperatives. This should be known by those senators and congressmen who have passed recently a law that will lead to privatization of Electric Cooperatives under the stranglehold of the Cartel.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 20, 2013.